Know Thyself Writer Challenge (PART ONE)

Fifteen days ago ( look I can count!) I posted the link and details about the 30 Day Know Thyself Challenge for all writers wanting to get published. You can read my post on this here.

These are my answers for days 1 thru 15. I promise I don’t drone on for eight years. I KNOW, you’re looking at how long the answer to number one is, but it’s the longest one – I swear!

 

 

 

 

Only rule: no yawning. I will find you. Just kidding (you had better hope).

DAY 1 QUESTION: What do you consider your greatest strength as a writer?

ANSWER: I’m going to go with my sense of humor, spread evenly without. Even when the brutal gets downright disgusting and depressing, I feel leaving a pinprick of light is a must. No one should ever feel completely alone, deserted, or worthless. But if they do, they’ve got to have a good outlook on life and say, hey – I’m breathing, I’ve got another chance, and I still have all my hair. So…that being an aspect of my writing style, I’m going to say that ‘said style’ is my greatest strength. I guess. I don’t know. I’d want someone else to read it and tell me what my greatest strength is. It is mostly up to the reader, isn’t it? It’s either that or my imagination and intense feel for human emotions. I’m pretty good at putting myself in all different kinds’ of people’s minds and understanding why they are the way they are and why they feel the way they feel. Did I just say I think I have more than one greatest strength?! Wow…this is not a brag people – do not be mistaken – this is my utter confusion as to the correct answer.

 

DAY 2 QUESTION: What is your biggest writing weakness, and what do you think you need to change to work on it?

ANSWER: Second guessing myself and my writing. I am a horrible judge of what other people think of my writing. I often write something that comes to me – then delete it because I second guess my voice. Someone will come up behind me, read it, and tell me it’s good. I’m sitting there going, ‘really?’ I also tend to add too many characters and have to edit them out. I’m making myself think about that one, this go around. Characters must have a strict purpose! If not, they’re staying in my head. Oh – and my author bio! My little sister could write a better one for me! That sums that up.

 

DAY 3 QUESTION: What’s the BEST writing advice you ever received?

ANSWER: Write something you’re passionate about or don’t write at all.

 

DAY 4 QUESTION: What tends to serve as the most reliable source(s) of inspiration for you?

ANSWER: Music. Movies. Books. People. Tragedy. Love. Quotes. Paintings. Desire.

 

DAY 5 QUESTION: What do you hope a reader will take away from your writing?

ANSWER: Happiness. Inspiration. Hope. I would want them to know that finding out who they are is important. To know that there are people out there who struggle with what is inside of themselves. I would want my readers to understand that no matter how ugly a situation is, there is always hope and always something to work towards, to focus on and to hold onto. There is always a reason to laugh. To smile. I want my writing to make people think. What makes someone a monster isn’t what they are but who they are, and how they deal with what they are given.

“The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.”-Joseph Conrad

That being said, I write paranormal fiction. Go figure.

 

DAY 6 QUESTION: What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a writer?

ANSWER: Everything I learn as I go. Things I’ve tried I wouldn’t have if not for the purpose of writing. The way I look at people, experiences, and truth. Knowing I have the unknown in my future.

 

DAY 7 QUESTION: Do you find that inspiration to write happens organically, or do you sometimes feel that you need to seek it out?

ANSWER: I find that I’m inspired by almost everything around me; the good, the bad, the mediocre, and the just plain confusing and jumbled. If I need inspiration, I research something I’m interested in or find new music. Most of the time it comes on its own.

 

DAY 8 QUESTION: How old were you when you started writing? What did you write?

ANSWER: In first grade I, Daphne, was an X-Men addict. In fact I was Rogue that Halloween. So when my teacher decided we all needed to write a book for a project, many X-Men characters found their way into my writing. I have to say my writing was spastic and jumped around like a raindrop on the freeway. I might have also stole a line from the movie “Ever After”. The story consisted of a girl being kidnapped and saved. No, I do not know why my mother cannot find A SINGLE COPY of the disastrous blackmail anywhere. 😉

 

DAY 9 QUESTION: Do you feel that you have found your voice in your writing? Or are you still searching?

ANSWER: Yes. No, not really – it found me. Dirty little stalker.

 

DAY 10 QUESTION: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing process?

ANSWER: Least favorite; waiting. Favorite; writing the rough draft. The emotions just flow right out and everything comes to life for me. Besides, I normally don’t know what’s going to happen next until I write it.

 

DAY 11 QUESTION: How much of your writing time is purely research?

ANSWER: I’d say it’s about half and half. I research before I begin writing but then I also pause writing for a week or so and research what comes as it comes. Then there’s research that research leads to (just because it’s interesting) and so on and so forth.

 

DAY 12 QUESTION: What is the last book, story, or poem you read that had an effect on your writing? Are you a better writer for having read this work?

ANSWER: I’d have to go with Fair Game by Patricia Briggs. It was the last book that I read that really got me excited and wanting to create something as equally exciting. I love it when i find a book like that! It makes the whole writing process that much richer.

 

DAY 13 QUESTION: What motivates you to keep writing?

ANSWER: I love it! I’ve never wanted to not write. It fulfills some need inside of me. It’s something I’m most passionate about. I crave it. I don’t really know how to describe it; it’s simply a complicated part of who I am. Its part of my identity and that alone motivates me to never give it up.

 

DAY 14 QUESTION: Share with us your strategies for overcoming writer’s block.

ANSWER: Sometimes I work on the second novel I have going at the same time. Taking a break always puts my writer’s blocked story back into perspective. That’s why I work on more than one novel at a time. It’s that fresh, haven’t touched this story in a while, let’s delve back into this totally different world and see where it takes me, feeling. Music is a big help, too. It’s so easy to get lost in an amazing song. Most of the time, I simply sit down, jot down where I’m at in my writing, and then list things that could happen to make it worse or what scenarios could happen next. It really depends on what I’m having a problem with and why. And what mood I’m in. I do a lot of thinking (fantasizing).

 

DAY 15 QUESTION: What writer or teacher most influenced your work?

ANSWER: There isn’t really a specific one, in all honesty. I’ve taken away so many different things, so many different aspects, from different authors. No one inspired me more than the other because they all had different things to offer.

(In another 15 days, I will post the last half of the questions and my answers.)

In the movie “The Replacements”, coach tells Keanu Reeves that he reminds him of a duck on a pond. Topside, he looks calm and untroubled. But beneath the water, his little feet are going ninety miles per hour.

To use his saying in only one facet of our lives, are you just another duck on the pond? With tons of questions and answers flying around in your mind? Would it be simple to answer these questions? Or would you have to think on them? Do you feel they’re even important? What would your answers be? Do you believe the answers to some of these questions keep you afloat on doubting waters? Or are you as calm and cemented in knowing yourself as you appear to be above the water?

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20 Comments

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20 responses to “Know Thyself Writer Challenge (PART ONE)

  1. Pingback: Know Thyself Writer Challenge (PART TWO) | daphneshadows

  2. Pingback: *Feeling Loved* | daphneshadows

  3. The only thing I know about myself as a writer is that I have about 50 Chapter Ones and no titles. Off to write Chapter One for Book 51………lol

  4. Ooh…the second guesses. I’m not a fan of those either, or the loneliness. I’ve found social media to be super helpful in this regard. Writers conferences are helpful, too. Then there’s the fun part—working lonely feelings into our work. 😉

    I read an inspiring article yesterday about the author of THE HELP, who was rejected endlessly but never gave up. You’ll get there, too. One “yes” is all we really need.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I’d love to stay in touch. Drop me a note any ‘ol time. (@AugstMcLaughlin or via my blog, etc.)

  5. now, I know just a bit more about you….
    G

  6. You’re good at humor? Lucky. I can’t seem to write it – on purpose, at least. It’s just forced. I recall thinking, “Oh wow, all the short stories I’m submitting are dark and depressing.” Then I looked at my list of stories and realized they were all that way. This probably says something about my subconscious.

    • I’m not overly humorous, or even a lot humorous. It’s just kind of there every once in a while. Mainly my take on things I suppose. As long as you’re getting across what you wanted to, to your audience, I wouldn’t worry about it. I think it has to do mostly with your own personality. If you’re humorous, let it translate to the page. In different ways for different (and only some) characters, of course. I just had to relax and stop trying so hard. We’re just strange, as writers. 😉

  7. You’re answer to question #3 really caught my attention because I actually found this out the hard way. I explored work as a freelance writer awhile ago, and I discovered that a large majority of my time consisted of writing about topics that I have absolutely no interest in! It was a very sad realization.

    • Well I’m glad you figured it out! Writing something that sucks all of the enjoyment out of it, is not something I would never wish on another writer. I hope it makes you happier now! 🙂

  8. I wish that some of the authors that I work with knew the answers to those questions. Before you can pour characters into a book, you have to know yourself, or else someone like me has to come along and rewrite it. lol.

    • Its so nice to hear from your perspective! So thanks. 😉 But yes, I agree. I believe in order to do something so personal and wish to have it succeed, you need to have yourself a bit figured out first. I think tons of writers have that problem. Because if you don’t know you, then you don’t know why you’re writing this specific novel, or poem, etc. And that will obviously effect the writing. I don’t think we think about that aspect of it as often. We try to make it as much NOT about ourselves as we can. Sorry for all of the rewriting… do the authors you work with normally improve after you speak with them?

      • No problem! 🙂 Right now I am working with an author that was already published once before, so although the editing this time is much more intense, I find that she is fairly receptive. Authors that haven’t been through the process before are a little harder because they want to believe that their writing skills are without error. My side of it is all about tact and compromise. Generally, when you give a good explanation in regards to the changes you suggest, authors are understanding. Sometimes though, it’s hard for them to see that you are just trying to improve their work so that you can get good endorsements and such. If you ever have any questions, feel free to ask!

      • Ha! Yeah, well I already know my writing is not without error! So not problems there. 😉 I’d rather go into it knowing I’m going to have to change some things and look at it as learning something new.
        Thanks! That would be awesome! I might just take you up on that and email you here and there.

  9. First of all, I believe you left a large chunk of yourself in those answers, which is truly admirable. I don’t think there is a writer alive who still doesn’t experience doubt, even when you know it’s coming. Published or unpublished, it doesn’t matter, we all experience some kind of doubt. Especially anyone who has queried. When the number of rejections start to pile up, one begins to wonder if their work is good enough. It’s only natural.

    Secondly, if you’re ever looking for an honest critique partner or someone to bounce ideas off of, go to the contact tab on my blog and e-mail me. I’d love for you to read EDEN, if you are interested, and I’d certainly be interested in lending my support in return. I’m no Patricia Briggs, but think it over and let me know.

    In answer to your last question: knowing yourself is easy enough, knowing if your writing is good enough is a different story. The simple answer is don’t be a duck, be a crocodile. 🙂

    “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”– Mark Twain

    • Thank you very much. 🙂 Yes, there’s always that, “wait, do I really want people to know this…?”
      Tell me about it, I’ve queried 78 agencies and received 82 rejections (that’s from my first novel and I re-queried some agents after the re-write as well). But I can’t help but love that I’ll now know what I’m doing, this next time around.
      I would LOVE an honest critique partner! That also happens to not be a jerk….been THERE, done that, and become pickier. 😦
      …..In the process of emailing you. 😉
      LOL I’ll try out climbing into a crocodile’s skin. 🙂

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